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Practical Accessibility in Web Development

(Dieser Artikel ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar.)

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In July 2021, Germany enacted the Accessibility Strengthening Act (Barrierefreiheitsstärkungsgesetz, BFSG), which puts the European Accessibility Act (EAA) into action. Estonia, Italy and Denmark have already introduced similar laws, and other EU countries will follow. The BFSG defines accessibility requirements for products and services that enter the European market or are provided to consumers after June 28, 2025. This includes, among other things, the entire e-commerce sector, hardware and software, but also national passenger transport or banking services.

Besides being an important and necessary step towards making the web more accessible for all, the EAA can pose a real threat in the case of non-compliance. If a product or service does not meet the requirements for accessibility, Germany’s market surveillance authorities (Marktüberwachungsbehörden) can order its recall or discontinuation. In addition, fines of up to EUR 100,000 can be imposed. Exceptions exist only for small businesses with less than ten employees, annual sales of less than two million euros, or an annual balance sheet total of less than two million euros.

The state of web accessibility and IT projects shortly before 2025 is likely to be as follows:

  • Many IT projects are already running or are just about to start without a dedicated accessibility budget, meaning that the product’s inclusivity is to be achieved at low cost—in terms of money and mental effort.
  • Teams do not yet have the necessary accessibility know-how. Ideally, the tooling should therefore provide guidance even to a novice.

It should be noted that accessibility is a practice, not a feature. “You do it once, and then you have it” is a myth. This means that developers should tend to accessibility regularly, both when working on new features and during maintenance. While there are several accessibility

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